League of rations

Tightened budgets and reduced wages are the order of the day in the League of Ireland, but the austerity drive has served to stem Irish clubs' financial losses, writes Philip Connolly.

20th July, 2013
Shelbourne's Wes Hoolahan outpaces Juan Valerón of Deportivo La Coruña in a Champions League qualifier in 2004: it was a landmark match for Irish football, but Shels almost went bust five years later. Photo: Inpho

On August 24, 2004, Shelbourne FC took on Spain's Deportivo La Coruna in the third qualifying round for a place in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, the world's premier club football competition.

Shels had surprisingly knocked out Croatian champions Hajduk Split in the previous round. In recognition of what was one of the best results ever achieved by an Irish club side in Europe, more than 25,000 fans turned out at the old Lansdowne...

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